Riding high

The American River is running fast and fairly high right now; as I stood on the shore yesterday morning, mesmerized by the rushing water, there was nothing that could have induced me to dip even one foot into the torrent.

But the birds have seen it all before and seemed more pleased than impressed. Like the Great Blue heron, calmly fishing while standing on a tiny tuft of earth in the middle of the river; the ducks and geese paddling through the flooded shallows; the shy American coots lurking in the underbrush; and the common merganser body-surfing through the whitewater.

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